How to make easy DIY no-sew special occasion dog bows and bow ties. Simple stylish DIYs for doggy dress-up without sewing a single stitch. Pawesome!
No-Sew? No Problem!
Whilst making my no-sew recycled dress shirt dog bandanas, I couldn’t resist making a bow with some of the extra material. Bows and/or bow ties are quick crafts, although attachments for dog collars can sometimes be a little trickier. We have some awesome bow tie and bandana projects coming up (including what may be my favourite upcycle thus far!), but to keep this bow project totally now-sew, we’ll be showing a couple of simple attachment options.
How to Make No-Sew Dog Bows and Bow Ties
Supplies and Materials
To make a similar no-sew dog bow or bow tie, you will need:
- Fabric (ours were made with salvaged fabric from old dress shirts)
- Cutting tools, including a straight edge and either scissors or a rotary cutter
- Fusible hemming tape
- Interfacing (optional but recommended, especially for floppy materials)
- Iron and ironing board
I opted to make this bow a little taller than a conventional bow tie so that it has a pronounced triple accordion bow instead of just a pinched middle pleat, but you can easily adjust dimensions to suit your preferred size and style of bow. Unlike our some of our bow ties, like the no-sew Australia and New Zealand Flag bow ties we made years back (where does the time go?), the actual bow itself is the star here. Not the fabric or face design of the tie.
The steps below are the same as sewing a simple bow tie, but the materials are fixed in place with fusible hemming tape instead of sewing the folded body of the bow tie. No sewing required! Easy, but still decently durable, too.
Making No-Sew DIY Dog Bows and Bow Ties
Making the body of the bow or bow tie:
- If your material is creased or wrinkled, iron flat for a fresh starting surface.
- Cut a rectangle of blue fabric approximately 2x as wide and 1.5x as high as you would like your finished bow tie, plus additional for fold-over hem allowances.
- Fold and iron to press a crease all the way around the outside seam allowance.
- Fold the ironed sides inwards to meet at the middle and iron again.
- Optional: I opted to fold the ironed top to the middle and iron, then fold each half in half again and iron to press creases for a triple accordion fold. This is completely optional as folding alone is a-ok as is simply cinching or pinching depending on what style of bow you’d like.
- Cut a piece of interfacing to fit inside the body of the bow. It can be fusible or you can use hemming tape to fuse standard sew-in interfacing.
- Position interfacing, carefully position hemming tape, and refold.
- Iron to bond together, taking care to ensure all edges and corners are secure.
Forming the bow:
- Pinch the bow together in the middle and secure tightly with elastic or a complimentary ribbon.
- Optional: You can make a no-sew loop for the middle, if you wish, by creating a small fabric strip (fold like a double fold binding) in the width/length you’d like for the circumference of the loop and fusing (or gluing) it into a ring. I did not make a slide for this bow. More on that below.
Options for Attaching a No-Sew Dog Bow or Bow Tie for Wear
As a no-sew collar attachment, fabric slides can be tricky. There is often a lot of stress on the slide seam holding in the bow as well as working over knobby buckles on a collar. Our current collars have wide buckles, big loops, and are fitted with tags and trackers that are ill-suited to a slide, unless it’s very stretchy. No-sew alternatives include:
- Elastics aren’t quite as pretty, but if you choose carefully they can look pretty good! You can use elastics with a covering slide or skip the slide and use a pretty hair elastic instead. See above for an example. They’re tough and secure, too, which is always handy with dogs.
- Self-adhesive Velcro (one piece) like the stuff used to secure appliance cords can work as well. Choose and use with care as their secure hold may vary.
- Ribbon can be used to secure the middle and then tied onto a collar (visible ends or trimmed) or trimmed and the bow secured to the collar with clear elastic. Alternatively, for a special occasion bow instead of a collar bow tie, I love the look of using a thick piece of complimentary ribbon all the way around the neck. Dapper, dressy, and easy.
Creating a Dog Bow with Ribbon Attachment
In the example pictured above, the bow is tied off-centre, so that there is enough ribbon to wrap the neck and fasten behind the bow leaving similar lengths of ribbon dangling below.
It can be tricky to get a smooth wrap on the front of the bow/bow tie when tying it tight to cinch the middle, so I opted to tie and then carefully wrap around again with a smooth loop, and knot again at the back. The wrap around the neck is flat and smooth, but not too tight. Just right for the wide ribbon to sit comfortably and hold the bow in place.
This type of accessory may not be suitable for some pets. As noted in our DIY reversible bow tie tips on attaching embellishments, good behaviour to go with the good looks is not guaranteed. Always safety first! Keep it safe, supervised wear only, and make sure you can quickly untie any accessory, if needed. If you want the same look for a collar-on event (or want a safety/quick release), you can embellish an old collar with ribbon to get a similar look.
With the recycled dress shirt check blue bow and pretty silvery grey ribbon, Humphrey is wedding ready – just needs an invite (or a pawty to crash). Hehehe… I think he’d charm a few bridesmaids (and groomsmen, family, friends, the bride and groom, staff, passing strangers…), own the dance floor, snack the night away, and steal a kiss or two!
Back to the Sewing Room for More Doggone Great DIYs
Now that we’ve shared our no-sew bandanas and these no-sew bows/bow ties, we’re heading back to the sewing room. We have some more pawesome dress shirt upcycles and recycles prepped to share with you soon, so stay tuned for more!